Don Fishman, MD, is medical director of Trauma Services at Overland Park Regional Medical Center (OPRMC)—part of HCA Midwest Health System, Kansas City’s largest healthcare network and private sector employer. Dr. Fishman, along with a team of emergency medical professionals, is on the frontlines every day caring for trauma patients in one of the area’s busiest hospitals. OPRMC is a Level II Regional Trauma Center and paramedics bring victims of car and motorcycle accidents and other trauma-related accidents to its emergency department’s doors 24/7.
And Dr. Fishman knows one of the most critical things many patients need immediately upon arriving at the emergency room: blood. Sometimes pints and pints of blood to save lives.
So Dr. Fishman considers it a natural to be on the frontlines of an annual event at OPRMC—the blood drive for the Community Blood Center. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31 in Medical Plaza West, Suite 50 on the OPRMC campus, people are encouraged to come and roll up their sleeves for a very good cause. Dr. Fishman plans to be the first donor, assuming he isn’t in the OPRMC emergency department caring for a patient.
“As a physician, I want to set an example to the community on the importance of giving blood,” says Dr. Fishman. “I see firsthand the critical need for blood while treating trauma patients. I think of the people who are alive today—living right here in our community—because of the generosity of blood donors and because of the great work at the Community Blood Center.” OPRMC’s goal is to set a record of physician donors during the blood drive.
Other employees will put their best arm forward, too, on Oct. 31 for a good cause. Take Christine Hamele, a vice president at OPRMC. Hamele and her daughter, 14-year-old Abby Jo, will greet blood donors on Wednesday—and share their very poignant story about the significance of giving so others can live.
“Two days after delivering Abby Jo, my husband, Scott, came home to find me on the bathroom floor, massively hemorrhaging,” says Hamele. “I was rushed to a local hospital and required blood just to get me into the operating room so doctors could find the cause of the problem. My physician told me three days later, while I was recovering in the hospital, that I was one sick girl.”
Dr. Fishman, Hamele and other OPRMC employees including chief executive officer Damond Boatwright, who know the positive impact of blood donation stress that 30 minutes or an hour is a small price to pay for something that ultimately saves lives.
“Giving blood is giving life,” says Dr. Fishman. “And so easy to do.”